Week 3 finds most of the class in the completion stage of building their pottery.
Our budding potters completed their final coils and worked to make their construction stable.
For some it’s hard to know when to end the building process and move to the next step.
Before moving to the next step it’s important to check the stability of the construction as well as the symmetry of the pottery.
After the pottery is built the next step is to begin the pasting of the project…also known as papier mache.
Papier-mâché (French for “chewed paper”), alternatively, paper-mache, is a composite material consisting of paper pieces or pulp, sometimes reinforced with textiles, bound with an adhesive, such as glue, starch, or wallpaper paste.
Papier-mâché paste is the substance that holds the paper together. The traditional method of making papier-mâché paste is to use a mixture of water and flour or other starch, mixed to the consistency of heavy cream. While any adhesive can be used if thinned to a similar texture, such as polyvinyl acetate (PVA) based glues (wood glue or, in the United States, white Elmer’s glue), the flour and water mixture is the most economical. Adding oil of cloves or other additives to the mixture reduces the chances of the product developing mold. The paper is cut or torn into strips, and soaked in the paste until saturated. The saturated pieces are then placed onto the surface and allowed to dry slowly; drying in an oven can cause warping or other dimensional changes during the drying process. The strips may be placed on an armature, or skeleton, often of wire mesh over a structural frame, or they can be placed on an object to create a cast. Oil or grease can be used as a release agent if needed. Once dried, the resulting material can be cut, sanded and/or painted, and waterproofed by painting with a suitable water repelling paint.
For many this is the fun part of the project. Some see it as the slimy, gross part. The first coat of paste and paper has been applied and next week will be the final application of paper and paste.